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Question DetailsAsked on 10/8/2016

is it necessary to replace motor if fan broke on ac unit

the fan broke on indoor carrier 58sta135 model. the repair man says we should replace motor also. the unit tried to turn on while i was not home. it did this for about 8 hours. the repairman says the motor could of been damaged from this

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1 Answer


Repairman is right about possible damage. Certainly did not do it any good. Some motors in that type of use are "self-limiting current" design - they are built so if the motor stalls it can sit there and the buildup of heat will not (in theory) damage it - though it will certainly be quite a bit hotter than normal running conditions. Manufacturer would have to tell you if that is the case with your model - Carrier spec website is down right now so could not check that for you. Some also have overtemp breakers on the motor that trip out if it overheats - they are not flawless but do a pretty good of protecting motors against overheating, so if yours has that and it tripped out that would make the need for replacement less likely. [Usually a little square red button on the end of the motor that says Press To Reset or something like that - generally quite inconspicuous]

Since he is replacing the fan, I would say if he gives you an additional cost (oer the fan replacement) price of around $100-200 additional labor plus the cost of the motor (which can usually run $100-150 range commonly but as much as 300-350 depending on make and model) I would go for it - because I would not trust that motor to last indefinitely after 8 hours stall unless a thermal breaker on the motor tripped out AND the motor runs quiet and smooth now and does not show bearing play or scorching.

Also - in a prolonged stall like that, the capacitor was likely overheated or possibly destroyed as well trying to start the stalled motor - so I would replace that too (generally around $100-200 as an add-on to other work but can be more with some models) because if that was damaged then your fan motor (new or old one) would be hard starting and see even more heating which it should not. (The capacitor provides extra energy storage to start the motor quicker so it heats up less). Comes mounted on some new motors, separate on other units, and sometimes is a dual-start capacitor designed to start both the condensor fan and the compressor motors with one two-chamber capacitor (these tend to get pricier - into the $100+ range for the part only in many cases).

Also - if there is a starting relay for that motor (commonly in same housing as external capacitor) that should be checked for function and signs or overheating or burning - can be from about $20-100 depending on brand and whether delayed-start (for easier compressor starting) or not, plus $0-50 additional labor over motor and/or capacitor replacement being done at same time.

Of course, how important high reliability A/C is to you, and how old this unit is (i.e. is it likely to be replaced in short order anyway) might factor into your decision - as might the repair-versus-replace entire unit issue if a quite old unit (say over 10-15 years) and the repair quote for this job is getting into say the $700-1000 or higher range so a whole new more efficient A/C unit with new warranty might start looking like the thing to do. You can find a number of discussions about the repair-or-replace unit question and related economics and pros and cons in responses to previous questions in the Home > HVAC linkk in Browse Projects, at lower left.

Oh - and if you go with the repair(s) - I would go with OEM parts, not after-market if at all possible, because a LOT of the junk coming from Central Amearica/Mexico and Asia these days not only has a short life but can damage other componentsw when it fails. You do NOT want to go through this again for the same motor or capacitor repair in a couple of months or a year or two.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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